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College and Career Readiness

Enfield Expands College and Career Readiness Opportunities

In Enfield, efforts to increase access to college-level coursework got a jump start when in 2015-16, the community decided to consolidate its two high schools. This provided the perfect opportunity for district and school leaders to work together with elected officials and the broader community to make a concerted effort to increase dual enrollment offerings at Enfield High School. The community wanted to provide as many opportunities as possible for students to “figure things out” about their futures while they were in high school.

School Schedule and Multipurpose Block

Eagle mascot logo of Enfield High SchoolThe consolidation of the two high schools served as the perfect inspiration for educators to completely re-imagine the high school program. They moved to a block schedule so students could better meet the increasing credit requirements for high school graduation. They also eliminated study halls and introduced a multipurpose block of about an hour which they call “Eagle Block” (their mascot is the eagle); this daily time block every day has allowed educators to offer creative and innovative informational/support sessions (e.g., career information sessions, AP support, recruitment for interdisciplinary learning opportunities) that truly meet student needs and interests.

Dedicated Career Counseling

To ensure that students are truly well informed about careers before they graduate high school, the district created two career counselor position in 2016-17. Though these counselors are assigned to the high school, they work with students in Grades 6 through 12. These career counselors are not part of the traditional guidance team. They strive to reach all students and visit every classroom, traditionally in the fall. They work to build strong relationships with students, staff, and community members and connect students with job shadowing experiences, internships, field trips, and career exploration opportunities. For example, they offer skill development opportunities at employers like Johnson Memorial Hospital and Cox TV Studios and job shadowing opportunities at places like Microsoft, The Bushnell, VOYA, and NBC. They also facilitate guest speaker panel discussions on topics including medical careers, social services, legal careers, criminal justice and forensics, and computer science – some of these are held during the aforementioned Eagle Block! They also offer field trips to many local/regional organizations like Fox 61, Real Art Ways, and CT Science Center so students can explore careers in a variety of disciplines.

Sustained Postsecondary Partnerships

Enfield has a long history of partnership with Asnuntuck Community College (ACC) that has continued to evolve and blossom. The College Connections Program affords juniors and seniors the opportunity to attend the Welding Technology, Machine Technology, or Electronics Controls Technology programs at ACC from 12:30 - 2:00 in the afternoon. Participants accrue college credits toward a certificate or an associate’s degree in machining, welding, or electronic systems and controls, in addition to also receiving high school credit. Enfield provides transportation to and from ACC for those students. Based on feedback from the career counselors, a new EMT certification course, in planned partnership with ACC, is in its second year running.

In addition to students taking welding/machining courses at ACC, Enfield Public Schools also partners with ACC to articulate high school courses for college credit. These courses range from CTE pathway courses such as Accounting or Child Development/Parenting to more academic courses like Algebra II or Chemistry. They are taught by Enfield High School teachers after receiving training from ACC faculty. 

These efforts have resulted in dramatic improvements in Enfield’s performance on Indicator 5 of Connecticut’s Next Generation Accountability System. This indicator expects 11th and 12th graders to participate in rigorous coursework like AP/IB/Dual enrollment or CTE pathway courses. Enfield has improved from 49% in 2015-16 to 64% in 2017-18.

3M logoThe sustained and intentional postsecondary partnerships have drawn the attention of 3M which is now collaborating with ACC, Enfield Public Schools, and Stafford Public Schools to fund training machines that will be shared with the high schools. 3M provided teachers with training for delivering the Exploring Mechatronics curriculum. ACC faculty are expected to train and support high school staff in this program which prepares students for the College Connections program and possible future employment at 3M.

Another emerging partnership is the articulation of engineering courses with Springfield Technical Community College in Springfield, MA, which offers Enfield Public School graduates in-state tuition at STCC with the possibility of even earning a four-year degree from Northeastern University while attending STCC at in-state tuition rates!

Strong Board Support and Commitment

The Enfield Board of Education and the local community has dedicated financial support for several of these college and career readiness initiatives. One among them is the College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP) program. The Board has allocated funds to cover the cost of al AP exams for all students at Enfield High School. This commitment, coupled with the block schedule and teacher support has resulted in a 175% increase in the number of students taking an AP exam and a nearly 250% increase in the number of exams taken. The College Board’s AP support materials that are now available online have been a huge help. To promote utilization of these online supports, the district is implementing a one-to-one iPad rollout in the near future! In addition, AP teachers utilize the “Eagle Block” to provide AP support at least two to three times every week.

Summary

Topic: College and Career Readiness

Strategy:

  • School Schedule and Multipurpose Block
  • Dedicated Career Counseling
  • Sustained Postsecondary Partnerships
  • Strong Board Support and Commitment

District: Enfield Public Schools

District Snapshot: 5,100 Students; 20 Schools/Programs; 46% eligible for free/reduced price meals; 17% students with disabilities; 2.1% English learners; 510.9 Full Time Equivalent Educators; $14,841 per pupil

Contact Information: Andrew Longey, Assistant Superintendent of Schools, 860-253-6532, alongey@enfieldschools.org